We heard from Annabel Pettigrew and the ‘Throes of Grief’ collective, and then Richard Povall was In conversation with writer Sophie Pierce. 

This First Friday forms part of our Borrowed Time series of actions with artists, writers and thinkers which began in October of 2020..


Read the chat


The Throes of Grief artist collective

Throes of Grief is an artist led collective research initiative exploring both the presence and themes of Grief in Contemporary art practice.

Founded by Annabel Pettigrew in 2020, following an Open Call and a round of initial in-depth conversations with applicants, a group of eight artists were selected to take part as participants.

Participants currently meet online for discussion, presentation of work, peer critique and workshops. In doing so contribute to collaborative research and critical development of practice. 

Participants are encouraged to engage with the presence of Grief within work and practice, and examine any conceptual themes to further the critical underpinning or development of the work we make. 

2021 sees monthly participant artist-led sessions delivered to the core group, with plans to expand in the future.

More details can be found on our Instagram @throesofgrief and participating artists here.




Sophie Pierce

Sophie Pierce shares the story of how she is navigating ‘the weather and tides’ of grief, using her love of swimming and landscape, and being in them as an act of ‘active mourning’ rather than getting lost in waves and rivers of grief. The event is free and open to all..

Sophie Pierce is a writer and broadcaster who worked as a reporter and producer for the BBC for over twenty years. In 2017 her 20 year old son Felix died suddenly and unexpectedly. Her memoir The Green Hill: letters to a son explores how she responded to this devastating loss, navigating the weather and tides of grief. In the surroundings of Dartmoor and the South Devon coast she finds ways to continue the bond with Felix, both in her mind and with physical activity; actively mourning, rather than grieving. The book celebrates the natural landscape and the role it plays in our lives and relationships, as well as looking at how we think about our own mortality. The Green Hill, Felix’s burial place by the River Dart, comes to symbolise the issues that become important in the journey of grief: nature, beauty, a sense of place, and the passing of the seasons.  The book shows how Sophie finds ways to continue the bond and recreate her relationship with Felix, both in her mind and with physical activity: pen on paper, needle on the fabric of the clothes he wore, and swimming and walking. She learns to focus on the landscape around her, the plants and trees, the rivers of Dartmoor and the sea off the South Devon coast, to somehow ‘be’ with him again.

“In The Green Hill, Sophie Pierce writes about the sudden death of her son Felix with an aching and gentle honesty. Struggling to come to terms with the loss not only of the young man he was, but everything that he would eventually become, she finds herself overwhelmed not only by grief, but also by love. Her writing is illuminated by a remarkable attention to the beauty and consolation of the natural world, and by the wisdom and tenderness which has been so painfully acquired. This is a book that will be a great comfort to those who need it.  Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent, Melmoth)”

[Book cover image: Dan Bolt; Top image: Frankie Mills]